Back in the 1800's, Ormsby Island was one of South Carolina's crown jewels. The island was owned by Maxwell Ormsby, a very wealthy man who liked to entertain everyone from heads of state to artists and authors and anyone who knew how to make money in business. An invitation to the island was a declaration that you were someone on the move. Once a year, Ormsby opened the island up to the public and hosted a huge fair. It was the social event of the year in these parts. My family still talks about the days when my great grandmother would take the family out to enjoy the festivities. It must have been some party.
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You told us this place was haunted. How haunted is it?" Paul cast a quick glance at the house. "I'm not sure. When they found the bodies twenty years ago, the place became off-limits. That was horror enough. There were whispers of strange stuff going on before then, but no one is alive who could verify a thing. Somehow, an urban legend grew about the whole island. "Don't go near haunted Ormsby Island. They say a reporter went out alone one night just after the mass murder had been discovered and never came back. Since anyone who had committed the murders was either dead or gone at that point, it had to be the island itself that offed the reporter. Mitch, Ormsby Island isn't even on most maps of Charleston Harbor. Locals will turn away the moment you even say its name.
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As she walked to the stairway, he pulled her back with a light tug on her shoulder. "They're responding to you now." Turning to face him, she said, "Responding to me? What did I say?" "The hallway was full of them. When you said we were going downstairs to eat, they started filing down the stairs." "They all took the stairs?" Eddie nodded, his shining, gifted eyes watching the ghostly procession. He said, "They don't want to be far from you, Jess. And I'm not entire sure it's well intentioned." "Come to use, " the voices whispered.
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The stinging slap against her cheek whipped her head sideways. Her hand reflexively went to her burning face. "I told you no, " Tobe said, barely above a whisper. Daphne had no words. He'd never so much as hinted at touching her in anger before. She now understood what stunned speechless meant.
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Which grave are we in?" she said. "The oldest." She felt Eddie's puzzlement. "That can't be possible. He looks like he was just buried." "There must be something at work in the chemistry of the island that's preserving his body. It's like the incorruptibles, bodies that weren't preserved in any special way that don't decay. Catholic saints like Bernadette and Padre Pio are said not to have decomposed even though they died a long, long time ago. Environmental factors can cause a kind of mummification." Jessica said, or thought, "This is bizarre. I'm getting a lesson on mummification while in the coffin of a dead man.
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This was a part he didn't like. It made him feel like a jailer, or a kidnapper. "Another sin, another string of Hail Marys, " he said, sitting on the edge of the bed. So much was riding on this. It could all blow up in their faces. If he was still a betting man, that's where he'd lay his money. Too many moving parts that weren't in line with one another. Praying wasn't an option. God didn't have time for deceivers.
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There's so many kids, " he said low enough so only Jessica could hear. "We're going to walk right into them in two more steps." If it gave Jessica pause, he didn't sense it. Instead she seemed to pull him faster. A frigid hand closed around his heart, freezing the ebb and flow of his blood. Eddie gasped, overcome with the chill of a thousand deep, dark graves.
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